tv 1969 State of the Union Address CSPAN January 16, 2017 11:27pm-12:19am EST
faiths, all races, all nations may have their great human needs satisfied, that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full. that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings, those who have freedom will understand also its heavy responsibility. that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity, and that the sources -- scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made disappear from the earth. and that in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love. now, on friday noon, i am to become a private citizen. i am proud to do so. i look forward to it. thank you, and good night.
president lyndon johnson delivered his final state of the union address to congress on january 14th, 1969, less than a week before the inauguration of his successor, republican richard nixon. the speech served as his good-bye to the american people, and as he did not give a farewell speech. president johnson spoke about what he saw as his accomplishments, including the passage of the voting rights act and the creation of medicare. and he expressed hope that negotiations would result in peace in vietnam. our coverage of the 50-minute address comes from cbs news. [ applause ]
>> mr. speaker. thank you very much. mr. speaker, mr. president, members of the congress and my fellow americans, for the sixth and the last time i present to the congress my assessment of the state of the union. i shall speak to you tonight about challenge and opportunity, and about the commitments that all of us have made together that will, if we carry them out, give america our best chance to achieve the kind of a great society that we all want.
every president lives not only with what is, but with what has been, and what could be. most of the great events in his presidency are part of a larger sequence extending back through several years, and extending back through several other administrations. urban unrest, poverty, pressures on welfare, education of our people, law enforcement and law and order, the continuing crisis in the middle east, the conflict in vietnam, the dangers of nuclear war, the great difficulties of dealing with the
communist powers, all have this much in common. they and their causes, the causes that gave rise to them, all of these have existed with us for many years. several presidents have already sought to try to deal with them. one or more presidents will try to resolve them or try to contain them in the years that are ahead of us. but if the nation's problems are continuing, so are this great nation's assets. our economy, the democratic system, our sense of exploration symbolized most recently by the wonderful flight of the apollo 8 in which all americans took great pride -- [ applause ]
-- and the good common sense and sound judgment of the american people and their essential love of justice, we must not ignore our problems, but neither should we ignore our strengths. those strengths are available to sustain a president of either party to support his progressive efforts both at home and overseas. unfortunately, the departure of an administration does not mean the end of the problems that this administration has faced.
the effort to meet the problems must go on, year after year. if the momentum that we have all mounted together in these past years is not to be lost, although the struggle for progressive change is continuous, there are times when a watershed is reached. when there is, if not really a break with the past, at least the fulfillment of many of its oldest hopes, and a stepping forth into a new environment to seek new goals. and i think the past five years have been such a time. we have finished a major part of the old agenda. some of the laws that we wrote
have already in front of our eyes taken on the flesh of achievement. medicare that we were unable to pass for so many years is now a part of american life. [ applause ] voting rights in the voting booth that we debated so long back in the '50s, and the doors to public servants are open at last to all americans regardless of their color. [ applause ] schools and school children all over america tonight are
receiving federal assistance to go to good schools. [ applause ] and preschool education headstart is already here to stay. [ applause ] and i think so are the federal programs that tonight are keeping more than 1.5 million of our cream of our young people in the colleges and universities of this country. [ applause ] part of the american earth, not only in description on a map, but in the reality of our shores and our hills and our parks and our forests and our mountains has been permanently set aside for the american public.
and for their benefit. [ applause ] and there's going to be more set aside before this administration ends. [ applause ] 5 million americans have been trained for jobs in youth federal programs. and i think it's most important that we all realize tonight that this nation is close to full employment, with the less unemployment that we've had at any time in almost 20 years. [ applause ] and that's not in theory, that's in fact. tonight the unemployment rate is down to 3.3%. the number of jobs has grown more than 8.5 million in the last five years.
and that's more -- [ applause ] and that's more than in all the preceding 12 years. [ applause ] these achievements completed the full cycle from idea to enactment. and finally, to a place in the lives of citizens all across this country. i wish it were possible to say that everything that this congress and the administration achieved during this period had already completed that cycle. but a great deal of what we need we have committed needs addit n additional funding to become a tangible realization. and yet the very existence of these commitments, these promises to the american people made by this congress and by the
executive branch of the government are achievements in themselves, and failure to carry through on our commitments would be a tragedy for this nation. this much is certain. no one man or group of men made these commitments alone. congress and the executive branch with their checks and balances reasoned together and finally wrote them into the law of the land. and they now have all the moral force that the american political system can summon when it acts as one. they express america's common determination to achieve goals. they imply action. in most cases, you have already
begun that action. but it is not fully completed, of course. let me speak for a moment about these commitments. and i'm going to speak in the language which the congress itself spoke when it passed these measures. i'm going to quote from your words. in 1966 congress declared that improving the quality of urban life is the most critical domestic problem facing the united states. two years later it affirmed the historic goal of a decent home for every american family. that's your language. now, to meet these commitments, we must increase our support for the model cities program where blueprints have changed, or already being prepared in more than 150 american cities. to achieve the goal of the housing act of 1968 that you
just passed, we should begin this year more than 500,000 homes for needy people. and funds are provided in the new budget to do just this. [ applause ] and this is almost ten times the average rate of the past ten years. our cities and our towns are being pressed for funds to meet the needs of their growing population. so i believe an urban development bank should be created by the congress. this bank could obtain resources through the issuance of taxable bonds. and it could then lend these resources at reduced rates to the communities throughout the
land for schools, and hospitals, and parks, and other public facilities. since we enacted the social security act back in 1935, congress has recognized the necessity to make more adequate provision for aged persons and maternal and child welfare and public health. and that's the words of the congress. more adequate, and the time has come i think to make it more adequate. and i believe we should increase social security benefits. and i am so recommending that. [ applause ] there should be an overall increase in benefits of at least 13%, and those who receive only the minimum of $55 should get $80 a month. our nation, too, is rightfully proud of our medical advances. but we should remember that our
country ranks 15th among the nation in the infant mortality rate. i think we should assure decent medical care for every expectant mother and for their children during the first year of their life in the united states of america. [ applause ] i think we should protect our children and their families from the costs of catastrophic illness. [ applause ] and as we pass on from medicine, i think nothing is clearer to the congress than the commitment that the congress made to end poverty. congress expressed it well in 1964, when they said, it is the
policy of the united states to eliminate the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty in this nation. this, the richest nation in the world. the anti-poverty program has had many achievements. it also has some failures. but we must not cripple it after only three years of trying to solve the human problem that has been with us, and have been building up among us for generations. i believe the congress this year will want to improve the administration of the poverty program. by reorganizing portions of it and transferring them to other agencies. i believe, though, it will want to continue until we have broken the back of poverty. the efforts we're now making throughout this land. [ applause ] i believe, and i hope the next administration -- i believe they
believe the key to success in this effort is jobs, is work for people who want to work. and the budget for fiscal 1970, i shall recommend a total of 3,5 3,500,000,000 for our job training program. and that's five times as much as we spent in 1964. trying to prepare americans where they can work to earn their own living. [ applause ] the nation's commitment in the field of civil rights began with the declaration of independence. they were extended by the 13th and 14th and 15th amendments, and they have been powerfully strengthened by the enactment of three far-reaching civil rights laws within the past five years that this congress in its wisdom passed.
on january the 1st of this year, the fair housing act of 1968 covered over 20 million american homes and apartments. the prohibition against racial discrimination in that act should be remembered, and it should be vigorously enforced throughout this land. [ applause ] i believe we should also extend the vital provisions of the voting rights act for another five years. [ applause ] in the safe streets act of 1968, congress determined to assist state and local governments in reducing the incidence of crime. this year, i'm proposing that the congress provide the full $300 million that the congress last year authorized to do just that. [ applause ]
and i hope the congress will put the money where the authorization is. [ applause ] i believe this is an essential contribution to justice and the public order in the united states. and i hope these grants can be made to the states, and they can be used effectively to reduce the crime rate in this country. but all of this is only a small part of the total effort that must be made, i think chiefly by the local governments throughout the nation. if we expect to reduce the total crime that we all detest. frankly, as i leave the office of the presidency, one of my greatest disappointments is our failure to secure passage of the licensing and registration act for firearms.
[ applause ] i think if we had passed that act it would have reduced the incidence of crime. and i believe that the congress should adopt such a law. and i hope that it will at a not too distant date. 2340 in order to meet our long-standing commitment to make government as efficient as possible i believe we should reorganize our postal system along the lines of the capital report. [ applause ] i hope we can all agree that public service should never impose an unreasonable financial
sacrifice on able men and women who want to serve their country. so i believe the recommendation of the commission on executive legislative and judicial salary are generally sound. [ applause ] later this week, i shall submit a special message which i reviewed with the leadership this evening containing a proposal that has been reduced and has modified the commission's recommendation to some extent on the congressional salaries. for members of congress, i will recommend a basic compensation not of the $50,000 unanimously recommended by the capitol commission and the other distinguished members, but i shall reduce that $50,000 to $42,500.
[ applause ] and i will suggest that congress appropriate a very small additional allowance for official expenses so that members will not be required to use their salary increase for essential official business. [ applause ] i would have submitted the commission's recommendations except the advice that i received from the leadership, and you usually are consulted about matters that affect the congress, was that the congress would not accept the $50,000 recommendation and if i expected my recommendation to be seriously considered i should make substantial reductions. that's the only reason i didn't go along with the capitol
report. in 1967, i recommended the congress a fair and impartial random selecting system for the draft. i submit it again tonight for your most respectful consideration. [ applause ] and i know that all of us recognize that most of the things we do to meet all of these commitments i talked about will cost money. and if we maintain the strong rate of growth that we've had in this country for the past eight years, i think we shall generate the resources that we need to meet these commitments. we have already been able to increase our support for major social programs, although we've heard a lot about not being able to do anything on the home front because of vietnam. but we have been able in the
last five years to increase our commitments to such things as health and education from $30 billion in 1964 to $68 billion in the coming fiscal year. that's more than double, and that's more than it's ever been increased in the 188 years of this republic, notwithstanding vietnam. [ applause ] we must continue to budget our resources and budget them responsibly in a way that will preserve our prosperity and will strengthen our dollar. greater revenues and the reduced federal spending required by congress last year have changed the budgetary picture dramatically since last january
when we made our estimates. at that time, you will remember that we estimated we would have a deficit of $8 billion. well, i'm glad to report to you tonight that the fiscal year ending june 30th, 1969, this june, we are going to have not a deficit, but we're going to have a 2,400,000,000 surplus. [ applause ] you will receive the budget tomorrow. but the budget for the next fiscal year that begins next july the 1st that you will want to examine very carefully in days ahead, it will provide a $3,400,000,000 surplus.
this budget anticipates the extension of the surtax that congress enacted last year. i have communicated with the president-elect nixon in connection with this policy, and continuing the surtax for the time being. i want to tell you that both of us want to see it removed just as soon as circumstances will permit. but the president-elect has told me that he has concluded that until his administration and this congress can examine the appropriation bills and each item in the budget and can ascertain that the facts justify permitting the surtax to expire or to reduce, he, mr. nixon, will support my recommendation that the surtax be continued.
[ applause ] americans, i believe, are united in the hope that the paris talks will bring an early peace to vietnam. and if our hopes on early settlement of the war are realized, then our military expenditures can be reduced and very substantial savings can be made to be used for other desirable purposes as the congress may determine. [ applause ] in any event, i think it's imperative that we do all we responsibly can to resist inflation while maintaining our prosperity. i think all americans know that our prosperity is broad and it's deep, that it's brought record
profits, the highest in our history, record wages, our gross national product has grown more in the last five years than any other period in our nation's history. our wages have been the highest. our profits have been the best. and this prosperity has enabled millions to escape the poverty that they would have otherwise had the last few years. and i think also you will be very glad to hear that the secretary of treasury informs me tonight that in 1968, in our balance of payments, we have achieved a surplus. it appears that we have in fact done better this year than we've done in any year in this regard since the year 1957. [ applause ]
the quest for durable peace has i think absolved every administration since the end of world war ii. it has required us to seek a limitation of arm races not only among the super powers but among among the super powers but among the smaller nations as well. captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2008 captioning performed by vitac